What Is A Deposition?
To keep it brief and to the point – a deposition is an oral statement of a witness taken under oath (the same oath taken by witnesses at trial). A deposition consists of an attorney asking questions and the witness answering the questions. There is a court reporter recording the testimony.
Why Do We Need A Deposition?
A deposition is useful typically for two reasons – to gain information from the witness or to preserve information the witness has.
Why Do I Have to Attend?
All states have their own laws governing depositions but in Georgia the relevant statute is OCGA Section 9-11-30. This statute allows for the taking of deposition as long as certain requirements are met. Those requirements include reasonable notice in writing to every party to the action. There also cannot be a requirement that the witness travel outside of 150 miles.
Once those requirements are met, if a party fails to appear or engage in good faith at the deposition – the Court may hold that witness in Contempt of Court. Contempt of Court is failing to obey a lawful order of a court, showing disrespect for the judge, disruption of proceedings through poor behavior or doing actions that could jeopardize a fair trial. A judge may impose sanctions such as a fine or incarceration for someone found in contempt of court.
Additionally, if a party notices a deposition and then fails to appear the other party, if represented, may seek reimbursement of attorney’s fees.
A more detailed discussion on what to expect at the deposition will be covered in upcoming blog articles.